Premier League 2015-16 season preview: Tottenham Hotspur

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Tottenham Hotspur has played in the Europa League in each of the past four seasons. This year, the goal is once again to reach the top four and clinch a spot in the Champions League.

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Spurs finished fifth in the league last season, a position all too familiar to supporters at White Hart Lane. It was Mauricio Pochettino’s first year in charge and fans had high hopes, and if not for the breakout season from Harry Kane, Spurs would have finished much further down the table. Kane’s goals won Tottenham 24 points on the year, more than any other player in the league.

One of Kane’s most memorable goals would have to be his late winner against archrivals Arsenal in the north London derby, one of the biggest rivalries in the Premier League.

Best possible XI:

— Lloris —

— Walker — Alderweireld — Vertonghen — Davies

— Dier — Bentaleb —

— Lamela — Eriksen — Chadli —

— Kane —

Transfers in: Toby Alderweireld ($18 million, Atletico Madrid), Kieran Trippier ($5.5 million, Burnley), Kevin Wimmer ($6.7 million, FC Koln)

Transfers out: Paulinho ($14 million, Guangzhou), Lewis Holtby ($7 million, Hamburg SV), Etienne Capoue ($11 million, Watford), Younes Kaboul ($4.7 million, Sunderland), Benjamin Stambouli ($9.5 million, Paris Saint-Germain)

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Harry Kane finished second in the PL with 21 goals last season.

Last season: Fifth in the Premier League, runners-up in League Cup — In Mauricio Pochettino’s first season in charge at White Hart Lane, Tottenham got off to a slow start while trying to balance the Premier League with the Europa League. But Spurs turned things around after the new year, scoring five goals in a win over Chelsea and beating Arsenal in the north London derby. Despite finishing fifth on the table, Spurs conceded 53 goals, which was the fifth-most in the league. Tottenham just missed out on the Champions League and lost to Chelsea 2-0 in the League Cup final, which would have been Spurs’ first trophy since 2008.

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Star player: Harry Kane — At 21-years-old, Kane scored 21 goals in the league last season en route to being named the PFA’s Young Player of the Year. He tallied 31 goals in all competitions to become the first Spurs player to eclipse the 30-mark since the great Gary Lineker in 1992. Now at the ripe old age of 22, Kane will have to back up last season’s stellar campaign with more goals in north London. While last year Kane came out of nowhere as a relative unknown, he will be a marked man this season with the opposition’s top defenders looking to shut him down.

Mauricio Pochettino is known for his attack-minded style of play.

Coaches’ Corner: Mauricio Pochettino prides his players on being some of the most fit in the league and is known for being great with developing young talent. In his first year in charge of Tottenham, the Argentine instilled his high-pressure, fast-paced attack at White Hart Lane, which can entertain the masses. However, heading into his second year as boss, Pochettino must tighten up the Spurs’ defense if they want a shot at winning some silverware.

PST predicts: While everyone at White Hart Lane will be thinking top-four, it looks like Tottenham may fall short once again. The side struggled to balance the Premier League with the Europa League last season, and this year there will be even more pressure to succeed in both. If Harry Kane goes down, there’s a big question as to where the goals will come from for Spurs.

WATCH: Zlatan stunner answers Vela’s opener in El Trafico

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is walking it like he talks it, not that that’s anything new.

A few days after claiming superiority over LAFC superstar Carlos Vela, Ibrahimovic and his Galaxy trailed early in El Trafico via a Vela penalty.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Naturally, Zlatan took it upon himself to answer the bell with his 14th goal in 17 games.

Ibrahimovic chests a long ball onto his right foot, cooking Eduard Atuesta by pushing it into position for a tremendous lash into the LAFC goal.

And if you haven’t been following LAFC’s amazing season, Atuesta’s probably been the side’s best player after Vela, who now has 20 goals in 20 games.

Wizard stuff.

Borussia Dortmund tops Liverpool 3-2 at Notre Dame

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A half-hour of the big guns wasn’t enough to get Jurgen Klopp a result against his former team.

Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster scored for Liverpool in a 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund at the University of Notre Dame on Friday.

Paco Alcacer, Thomas Delaney, and Jacob Bruun Larsen scored for the Black Yellow, who led 3-1 when mass changes began with Virgil Van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, and Andrew Robertson entering the match.

Liverpool faces Sevilla on Sunday at Fenway Park in Boston.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Alcacer with the ball in the box is a bad idea, and the Spaniard took advantage of Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Matip to smash home from a yard outside the six.

Wilson leveled the score before halftime, but Delaney made it 2-1 in the 53rd minute when a long diagonal ball beat the Reds line and a low pass across the box went undetected.

It was 3-1 via a clever Bruun Larsen touch to wrong foot James Milner, but Brewster brought the Reds back to within one when he converted a 75th minute penalty won by Ben Woodburn.

Liverpool was without Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah, who are on break after deep summer tournament runs.

Eriksen offered big Spurs wages, but Atletico Madrid lurks

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Christian Eriksen may trade London for Madrid after all, but Marca claims it’ll be Real Madrid’s rivals who earn the services of Tottenham’s Danish playmaker.

Eriksen, 27, scored 10 goals with 17 assists for Spurs in all competitions last season, and was reportedly ready to spread his wings for Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Kean to Everton? ]

But pro-Real site Marca says Zinedine Zidane doesn’t want Eriksen at the Bernabeu, and that Diego Simeone feels differently… should Atletico Madrid fail at landing his prime option.

That’s James Rodriguez, who remains property of Real and that’s a problem.

So Eriksen to Atleti, helping to replace Antoine Griezmann? It’s possible.

From Marca.com:

Just last November, the London club put a 250 million euro price tag on his head, but now appear keen to move him on. The next few days will likely reveal a lot about what’s to come.

So we may get an idea of whether this report has any guts to it by next week. There could be some sense to it, but Metro claims that Spurs are offering Eriksen an “enormous” contract to keep him in North London.

Enormous means a doubling of Eriksen’s wages, and the Dane is said to be happy in England. Might Spurs hold off the finest of La Liga and Serie A after all.

Report: Everton could land Juventus’ Kean after all

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Everton could end up with one of the hottest prospects in world soccer.

Moise Kean may wind up leaving Juventus due to the club’s failure to offload fellow strikers Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain.

And Kean, 19, was poised for a breakthrough to the first team, to the extent that Juve reportedly turned down a $33 million bid from Everton.

[ MORE: Algeria wins AFCON ]

The Toffees, however, may have new life due to the Higuain/Mandzukic problem, and Sky Sports Italia reports that Kean may indeed be an option for Marco Silva‘s club. He could join Michael Keane, if he’s keen.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Kean elected to leave Italy given the racial abuse he’s suffered in Serie A (Though racism is everywhere, of course).

The same report says Kean turned down a Barcelona offer because he would’ve headed on loan, while Arsenal is also said to be in the mix.

Kean scored six Serie A goals with an assist in just 13 matches for Juventus last season after scoring four times for Hellas Verona on loan.